Our dear lotus-eyed Lord, You are the source of pure goodness. There are many great sages who simply by samādhi, or transcendentally meditating upon Your lotus feet and thus being absorbed in Your thought, have easily transformed the great ocean of nescience created by the material nature into no more than the water in a calf’s hoofprint.” The purpose of meditation is to focus the mind upon the Personality of Godhead, beginning from His lotus feet. Simply by meditation on the lotus feet of the Lord, great sages cross over this vast ocean of material existence without difficulty.
“O self-illuminated one, the great saintly persons who have crossed over the ocean of nescience by the help of the transcendental boat of Your lotus feet have not taken away that boat. It is still lying on this side.” If one takes a boat to cross over a river, the boat also goes with one to the other side of the river. And so when one reaches the destination, how can the same boat be available to those who are still on this side? To answer this difficulty, the demigods say in their prayer that the boat of the Lord’s lotus feet is not taken away. The devotees still remaining on this side are able to pass over the ocean of material nature because the pure devotees do not take the boat with them when they cross over. When one simply approaches the boat, the whole ocean of material nescience is reduced to the size of the water in a calf’s hoofprint. Therefore, the devotees do not need to take the boat to the other side: they simply cross the ocean immediately. Because the great saintly persons are compassionate toward all conditioned souls, the boat is still lying on this side. In other words, one can meditate upon the lotus feet of the Lord at any time, and by so doing one can cross over the great ocean of material existence.
Meditation means concentration upon the lotus feet of the Lord. Lotus feet indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But those who are impersonalists do not recognize the lotus feet of the Lord, and therefore their object of meditation is something impersonal. The demigods express their mature verdict that persons who are interested in meditating on something void or impersonal cannot cross over the ocean of nescience. Such persons are simply imagining that they have become liberated. “O lotus-eyed Lord! Their intelligence is contaminated because they fail to meditate upon the lotus feet of Your Lordship. As a result of this neglectful activity, the impersonalists fall down again into the material way of conditioned life, although they may temporarily rise to the point of impersonal realization.” Impersonalists undergo severe austerities and penances to merge themselves into the Brahman effulgence, or impersonal Brahman existence. But their minds are not free from material contamination; they have simply tried to negate the material ways of thinking. That does not mean that they have become liberated. Thus they fall down.
In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that the impersonalist has to undergo great tribulation in realizing his ultimate goal. At the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is also stated that without devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot achieve liberation from the bondage of fruitive activities. The statement of Lord Kṛṣṇa is there in the Bhagavad-gītā, and in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the statement of the great sage Nārada is there, and here also the demigods confirm it. “Persons who have not taken to devotional service are understood to have come short of the ultimate purpose of knowledge and are not favored by Your grace.” The impersonalists simply think that they are liberated, but actually they have no feeling for the Personality of Godhead. They think that when Kṛṣṇa comes into the material world He accepts a material body. They therefore overlook the transcendental body of Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ (BG 9.11). In spite of conquering material lust and rising to the point of liberation, the impersonalists fall down. If they are engaged just in knowing things for the sake of knowledge and do not take to the devotional service of the Lord, they cannot achieve the desired result. Their achievement is the trouble they take, and that is all.